Massachusetts On the Edge
The Massachusetts Judiciary committee ordered Bill MA-3476 for study on May 2, 2016. This bill exposed legal challenges to existing federal law on the demarcation of “imitation” or air powered fire arms. The study of this bill effectively halts the legislative progression for this term in Massachusetts. A welcomed breather to overreaching and draconic legislation in the light of current events, but a clear example of failure on all sides of the political spectrum in crafting a real, lasting solution. The RSSA supports the efforts of all legislature, including our citizens and the peace officers that protect us, to make our country safe. MA-Representative Dan Cullinane (D) believes Bill MA-3476 will accomplish the aforementioned, his latest belief causes more economic harm then does anything to protect the public safety.
One of the provisions within the bill would require BB/airsoft manufacturers to provide a non-removable orange 1” stripe down the sides of a BB or airsoft replica. If allowed to pass, this provision would destroy BB/airsoft gun sales in Massachusetts. Consumers would reject the replicas because authenticity is tantamount in the market place: plate carriers, BDUs, slings, communications setups etc. MA-3476 provisions promotes fear mongering, a political backdoor effort to ban replica/BB guns, in light of dramatic and tragic recent events.
Accidental police shootings are one of the chief supporting arguments for this bill. The shooting of 12 year old Tamir Rice in Ohio is often cited as justification. Sadly, the MA-3476 proposition is ineffective. That bill would not have saved Tamir Rice’s life. The patrol car charged onto the young man and shot him at point blank range, while the replica was still tucked down his pants. MA-3476 would not have changed the 3 seconds it took to mistakenly end that boy’s life.
Education is the key. Lawmakers and industry representatives should attempt to find a common ground to craft legislation that has a chance to better the community. Well intended but ineffectual legislation is at worst harmful to the public and potentially life threatening. The officer that has to second-guess if an individual is holding a real fire arm that is colored to look like a replica or a replica that looks like a real fire arm, in a life and death situation is a clear example. Education. We must educate our community, young and old, new and experienced on proper behavior on and off the field. It is never safe to brandish any type of weapon in public, replica or not. This message may have greatly changed the outcome for Tamir Rice. The RSSA believes that education is the key to building a better community. The reality is that we see criminals paint firearms like toys to avoid suspicion, and we see kids paint neon-green water pistols to look like the “cool” side arms of their favorite video game/movie hero. People are killed mistakenly by the police even without fire arms. Do we need to start legislating children playing cops and robbers? Shall we create legislation that should clearly state that $1.00 flea market rubber band pistols should not be painted black? Maybe we can take a hefty editing to television, movies, music and magazines that encourage gun violence? These measure carry the same effectiveness as the provisions to color guns proposed by MA-3476. Should we just outright ban BB/airsoft replicas? Absolutely not. That will only deprive millions of civilians their right to peacefully enjoy their hobby, not to mention the economic damage that will ensue as the result in eliminating a non-lethal and affordable method for law abiding citizens to practice gun safety and train.
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